Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The DC You Never Hear About

We live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. That was before the Secret Service started having their way in Washington, DC. When I used to commute downtown regularly, I had several contracts where the best way to and from the place where I was working was right by the White House. Not the Pennsylvania Avenue side, the other side on E Street.

What was unpredictable was when the President left to fly somewhere on Air Force One, or went to Camp David, he took a helicopter known as Marine One. The Secret Service considered it a matter of National Security to stop traffic on E Street in both directions until Marine One took off. You could easily wait 15-20 minutes, longer if someone needed to take a leak (the non-urological term). I still don't understand why they thought I could get off a better shot from a moving car than sitting under the helicopter waiting, but then I don't understand the Secret Service.

Then it happened. An embassy was bombed by a truck ramming it's way by the Marine guard station. Many concrete pylons have been poured and both Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street on either side of the White House were 'temporarily' closed to traffic. That was over a decade ago, and neither street has ever been re-opened.

Which brings us to modern day DC and the up-coming Inauguration. The Secret Service has really outdone itself this time. All roads into DC from the Beltway in are closed off to traffic. Below is the actual Virginia Department of Transportation Order:

2009 Presidential Inaugural Law Enforcement and
Public Safety Public Affairs Subcommittee Announces
Joint Transportation Plan

Virginia Vehicular Restrictions
All vehicular road restrictions will be coordinated between the Virginia
State Police, the
Virginia Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions. On January
20, 2009,
personal vehicles will not be permitted into Washington, D.C., from
􀂃 I-395 north will be closed to general traffic. As a result, northbound
I-95 traffic
will be diverted onto I-495 North (Inner Loop) or I-495/I-95 East (Outer
Loop) at
the Springfield interchange.
􀂃 Eastbound I-66 lanes east of the Capital Beltway/I-495 will be closed to
traffic. Eastbound traffic on I-66 will also be diverted onto I-495
􀂃 Only authorized vehicles – emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and for-hire
limos -
will be permitted on I-395 North and I-66 East within the Beltway.
􀂃 Memorial Bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic only. No motor
vehicles will
be permitted to cross the bridges.
􀂃 Key Bridge is restricted to mass transit only
- 6 -
􀂃 Chain Bridge is restricted to authorized vehicles and mass transit only,
no charter
􀂃 The Woodrow Wilson and the American Legion bridges will have no traffic
􀂃 North Washington Street at Montgomery Street (City of Alexandria City)
Reagan National Airport will be closed.

Not to mock anyone here, but why not just not let anyone attend the Innaugural?

In the event of an emergency (unspecified) the evacuation plan is that everyone will walk across the bridges to Virginia. And what about people who are emergency workers? How are they getting to work? G-d forbid someone goes into labor and needs to go to the hospital, or worse. We call these tiny implementation details.

I could go on, but then I'd have to tell you that the DC politicians want Obama to make his first Executive Order putting the DC license plate withe the slogan 'No Taxation Without Representation' back on the Presidential limosine. Bill Clinton had it on for his last month in office, and W had it removed. I'm kind of hoping for removing the restrictions on stem cell research that were imposed, not that I have an opinion, naturally. Whatever it is, let it be worthy.

You can learn more about DC by reading M@'s post today at why.i.hate.dc or learn to be a better person with Mel or do both!!! Have a great day, and if things are going bad, if you screw up, at least you don't work for the Secret Service.


Mel said...

Uh oh......and I just posted about holding my breath until I turn blue?!?

k......please redirect all traffic AWAY from Mel's weblog...LOL

Lemme get the re-routing directions organized for ya. I guarantee they'll be just AS complicated and confusing as the Secret Services'.


katherine. said...

we visited Washington DC in April. I thought the traffic pattern was a nightmare then.

I imagine the security check to get thru any of these road blocks is about as extensive as the test you described recently...

Pamela said...

I love the fact that Virginians have to drive around the beltway into MD to get to DC that day. And never mind the poor people who have disabilities or who are just plain old. Yeah, it'll be interesting to say the least.

The CEO said...

Hi Mel, I run to your blog, it's a safe haven. I live way too close to DC.

Hi Katherine, the urologist is my friend and wants to help me; the government, I'm not so sure.

Hi Pamela, I neglected to mention that the same folks are sealing off the Maryland side too. Connecticutt Ave., Wisconsin Ave. (where I am) etc will all be sealed off into DC. Only way into DC is metro. And I also neglected to mention that baby strollers and back backs are strictly prohibited. I wouldn't bet on your bike either. They're the Secret Service, you know.

PhoenixHearse said...

I'm with you, I'm assuming that there are people who actually work in DC. But hey, a parade is more important.

Brook said...

So, do you think these restrictions will last as long as those concrete pylons? I was hoping to make a museum trip to DC sometime this year but it might be too much trouble with this level of ridiculousness.

NoRegrets said...

I heard now the beltway will be closed??? There's no way I would venture near downtown - I'd kill someone because I don't like crowds and I don't like to be told what to do by stupid people.

Brook, it's just this weekend that'll be nuts.

The CEO said...

Hi Heather, Both Pamela and NoR work in DC and neither work for the govt, so they actually work for a living. Neither will go in during the Innauguration. I keep hoping to have pizza with one of them.

Hi Brook, come in the Spring, DC is one of the most beautiful places in the world in the Spring. And we hope the roads will be open again, except Pennsylvania Ave. and E Street, they are gone forever. That's where the White House is, but you can walk by! Let us know when you're coming!

Hi NoR, last I heard, the Secret Service couldn't close I-495, so they had the Gov. of MD appeal to Marylanders to voluntarily avoid using I-495 for the 4 days of the 'celebration'. Like that's possible.

Glamourpuss said...

Hmmm, that does all seem a little, er, 'intense'...


M@ said...

Ha! CEO tryin' to get in on my hatin' of the District! :)

The CEO said...

Hi Puss, as usual, you are both precise and concise, and correct.

Hi M@, I even referenced your post. This time, they REALLY went overboard. Where are you going for the Inauguration?

Spellbound said...

You know what's really funny? All the hotel rooms in Richmond are booked solid with people who think they're gonna just drive up there for the festivities. I think this is the week when humans finally learn how to teleport.

skinnylittlesister said...

Absurd. Perhaps the it would be best to have the ceremonies at Alcatraz?

The CEO said...

Hi Spellbound, it's so nice to see you! It's now 10:15 am before the Innaguration. The Mall has been closed as it has reached maximum capacity. One person has died in a train accident. Several stations have closed, and the people in the trains are still in the trains, and this is what is being reported. It's really cold outside, and the wind has started. If you're from Florida, you're frozen; if you're from Alaska, maybe you're in shorts and a t shirt. I'm home watching on TV. Want to come over?

Hi Skinny, {{{{{ Skinny }}}}} I like your idea. I was going to write about having the Innaguration in Skylab with only invited dignitaries, but I don't think the Secret Service would allow them onto the Challenger. No communications for blackout periods on both exit and re-entry periods.

Echomouse said...

I understand the need for great security but isn't that a bit over the top?

Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS!! :) You guys have an excellent President. I'm jealous but happy for you all!

Open Grove Claudia said...

gosh, that kind of change is so hard to deal with. But I think we are going to be more "European" - soldiers with machine guns in airports, train and bus stations - very soon. It's a changing time.

Captain Smack said...

So it gets cold as hell, the traffic is horrible, and the town is crawling with politicians. That just doesn't sound like my kind of town.

The CEO said...

Hi Carrie, it does look like we have elected a good man, and that we have a lot of hope for the future. Come down and visit, and hopefully enjoy!

Hi Claudia, we have become a lot more Socialistic in the last few months. I don't doubt your view of the future either. We'll make it. Over 2 million people gathered peacefully on the Mall for the Inauguration without incident.

Hi Captain, welcome to the blog! This used to be a much better place before it got so congested with people.